Meet the captains of men's soccer
The Chimes sits down with Head Coach Bryan Kuderman and seniors Phillip Friehe and Jake Ravenscraft of the NAIA No. 8 ranked men’s soccer team to discuss leadership, potential, and the coming season.
How do you choose your captains? Coach Bryan Kuderman: In the past, I made poor decisions because I allowed just the oldest player to be the leader by default. What I look for now––this is my ninth year–– is someone who actually has leadership ability. Somebody with confidence. This last year, I asked for a vote and their votes were in line with the ideas I’d had in my mind.
What responsibilities do you put on your captains? Coach: Because I’m off campus, I put a lot on them as far as communicating with the team; sometimes there’s moment’s-notice things that need to be done. The game day responsibilities are just knowing. In soccer, the coaches have very little influence on the field. The captains have to be able to gain a starting position and maintain an optimistic perspective to keep up the competitive fire they need to win.
Is there an aspect of leadership off the field that you expect from your captains? Coach: They tend to set a character example. A lot of the time, the off-field example of leadership is seen in how they live their lives, in light of being at Biola. There is a character that should follow. And in athletics, we get guys here whose character isn’t as sharp as we want, and the captains are a beacon of light to them.
What are some specific things you want to improve on from last year? Coach: The number one area of improvement we need this year is discipline in fouling, because we lost a couple games simply because of fouls. They see they have to mature; they have to be a team that can be as tough as they were without fouling as much as they did.
If you could accomplish blank, you’d consider it a successful season. Coach: Well, in our conference, if you finish in the top five, you are an outstanding team. So, finishing in the top five is good, reasonable success. But looking at last year, we want to win conference this year. That is our objective.
Where does God fit in with what you are trying to do here? Coach: What I always come back to is that our Christian faith should be marked by our excellence. So, in everything we do, even something as simple as soccer, we do this unto God. Which means there is never back-talk or laziness, because this should be reflective of a bigger purpose.
What do you do to gain respect as a captain? Senior Phillip Friehe: Set an example for them from the get-go. From the beginning, they see us playing disciplined, organized. In the training we do, guys are getting to work hard and see us work hard. Senior Jake Ravenscraft: Work ethic in practice and in games. Everyone has their own skill and ability, but I think mine is just doing my best all the time.
How important is your on-field performance to your off-field leadership? PF: It’s huge. If I’m slacking, it shows the team that the leader isn’t doing what he should be doing, which is setting the wrong example and setting a tone for the team. JR: I’ve known leaders who have been good without being starters, but definitely for our team, it’s important to be on the team.
How do you set a Christ-like example? PF: By how you respond to frustration, cheap shots, and if you talk trash or get revenge–– that gets in the team’s head. JR: It comes out in the fact we are playing for something bigger. We are a witness on the field, so our character and our integrity is what’s being watched. We want to win on character. The way we play this game is a witness for Christ to our opponents.
What are some things you are looking to improve on from last year and what would you have to accomplish to consider it a successful season? PF: We should have won conference last year. We had a great chance at the end of the season. Also, going past the quarterfinal round of the national tournament. JR: Last year, we just didn’t have that next level to fight back at the end of games. Maturity is key. The crazy thing is, for us to say we need to win a national championship is an absolutely reasonable goal and expectation. When I was a freshman, to make playoffs was good. But this year, to have a successful season… win a national championship.